Dr. David Bronner, one of the most respected men in Alabama, made some rather interesting comments recently concerning the State of Alabama’s case against ExxonMobil, which has been pending in the Alabama Supreme Court since April 27, 2004. Because our firm, along with the Cunningham Bounds firm in Mobile, tried this case in the fall of 2003, I know firsthand that liability in the case was very clear and the proof at trial that Exxon intentionally cheated the state was extremely strong. If our high court follows the law and evidentiary proof presented during the lengthy trial, the jury’s verdict and the judgment in favor of the state will have to be affirmed. Here’s what Dr. Bronner had to say about the current state of affairs:
I personally believe the Alabama Supreme Court should be placed on a pedestal – beyond reproach. It must be “The Institution” that Alabama’s citizens have total confidence in for fairness and justice. The Alabama Supreme Court must simply be above politics. Alabamians understand that elections make good people do and say almost anything to become elected. It is for this reason that most states do not elect their appellate court judges and justices. Alabamians should not want their judges and justices to receive campaign funds; that practice only fosters the image of “politics” as usual. Maybe someday Alabama will correct that shortcoming, but perhaps not.
Remember the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Alaska in 1989? Exxon is a pro at stalling, and has yet to pay one penny of that jury award. ExxonMobil (they merged in 1998) tried to take advantage of our state too and got caught. In November 2003, a Montgomery jury awarded the state of Alabama $103 million in compensatory damages and $11.8 billion in punitive damages. The case was appealed and the punitive damages were reduced to $3.5 billion. ExxonMobil appealed the case again to the Alabama Supreme Court which sent the case to mediation. ExxonMobil walked out of the mediation and for two years the Alabama Supreme Court has done nothing!
It is past time for the Alabama Supreme Court to resolve this abuse of the people of Alabama.
Dr. David G. Bronner
Dr. Bronner’s comments have caused a great deal of media interest around the state. Many persons thought that the case had already been decided and that Exxon had paid what it owed the state. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are still waiting for the court to set a date for oral arguments.
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